A number of carmakers have produced or announced the production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCV). It looks like, slowly, hydrogen is becoming no longer the energy source of the future, but of today. Apart from the Toyota Mirai which is already on sale to consumers, below are some other FCVs as well. We spoke about the Honda Clarity FCV & Hyundai iX35 FC last time so i won’t mention them here.
Meanwhile, the United States Department of Energy has announced a “Funding Opportunity” for hydrogen and fuel cell research, development, and demonstration .
Interestingly, Toyota has invested in creating a chain of hydrogen filling stations across New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. As I noted in an earlier post, over a period of about 20 years the United States went from 0 gas stations to over 300,000 by 1929 due to the popularity of the Ford Model T. Honestly, the hydrogen refueling infrastructure problem will soon sort itself out, you’ll see.
The fuel cell stack of the Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro offers up to 310 miles (500 km) of driving range. The 170 kW fuel cell powertrain does 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.9 seconds and has a maximum speed of just under 112 mph (180 km/h). Total tank capacity is 5 kg of hydrogen.
In January 2014, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn publicly gave a thumbs down to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Now, however, Mr. Ghosn has had a change of heart. After prioritizing electric vehicles for years, the Nissan CEO now says the automaker will enter the hydrogen fuel cell race with a vehicle around 2020. Nissan is co-developing some of the technology with Germany’s Daimler AG.
Five Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELLs have recently completed a 1,000 mile emission-free drive from Los Angeles to Northern California while only filling up at public hydrogen stations.
BMW’s 5 Series GT based prototype can drive for 312 miles (500 km) before needing to refuel. The vehicle was developed using technology from a joint venture with Toyota. The hydrogen tank delivers a 440 mile (700 km) range and takes less than five minutes to refill at a cost of around $80 per refill. It can hit 60 mph (100 km/h) from stationary in 8.4 seconds – and continue on to 112 mph (180 km/h). Hydrogen is stored at cryogenic temperatures in liquid form.
The Volkswagen HyMotion fuel cell is being licensed from Ballard Power Systems, which is a whole different approach from the likes of Toyota who develop their own fuel cell stacks in-house. Four carbon fiber tanks store the hydrogen used in the fuel cell, giving the vehicle a range of 310 miles (499 km). The tanks can be refilled in just three minutes. As far as performance goes, the HyMotion accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in an even 10 seconds.
Kia said it is currently working to develop its next-generation hydrogen fuel stack. This will power an upcoming fuel cell vehicle (FCV) with a targeted launch date in 2020 and initial production set at 1,000 vehicles per year. Range is expected to surpass 500 miles (800 km) per fill-up. Kia said it will achieve these performance improvements by increasing the power density of the fuel cell stack.
“Kia engineers are planning to develop the brand’s next-generation fuel cell stack to be 5 percent more efficient and offer 10 percent greater stack performance, despite being around 15 percent lighter and 15 percent lower in volume, compared to current generation fuel cell stacks,” the carmaker said. “The result is a targeted range of more than 800 kilometers [497 miles] from a single fill-up and a top speed of around 170 kilometers per hour [106 mph].”
The LF-FC (“Lexus Future – Fuel Cell”) is a concept car designed to compete with the Merc S-Class and BMW 7-Series. It i based on it’s parent company’s, Mirai fuel cell technology.
Intelligent Energy, the international power technology company created its Gen4 air-cooled fuel cell power unit, designed for easy integration into two-wheel and four-wheel vehicles. The technology has been developed in collaboration with the Suzuki Motor Corporation.
Fuel Cell fork lifts are being used everywhere at an ever increasing rate. They’re very good for indoor use in stores and warehouses as they produce no carbon dioxide. Walmart is one major customer of the Plug Power fork lifts made using fuel cell stacks made by Ballard Power Systems.